10 November 2017

Namibia: Swapo Pushes Back Petition Hearing

THE hearing of a petition challenging alleged rigging during the recently held Hardap Swapo regional elections has been rescheduled.

A group of disgruntled party members, calling themselves 'Hardap Swapo Petitioners', called for the hearing through their lawyers, Isaacks & Associates Inc.

The group wants the results nullified.

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba yesterday said the hearing, initially set for 1 November, had to be rescheduled for the parties to agree on modalities.

"I gave them an audience, and we agreed to use the internal mechanisms whereby our legal department would organise the hearing because it has legal elements," he explained.

Mbumba said the hearing could take place anytime next week, depending on the arrangements.

The group's spokesperson, Nico Mugenga, wrote to Mbumba on 3 November, threatening that any further delay would leave them with no option but to seek relief through a competent court of law.

Mugenga, who is also a Swapo parliamentarian, said the petitioners agreed to the proposal that the hearing should be organised through the party's legal department.

"In the absence of a properly constituted petition hearing as defined in the rules and procedures of the party (Rule 77), expect immediate legal recourse," he warned.

The group also wants the politburo to authorise the hearing.

He further demanded a schedule of undertakings as from the date when the hearing would take place until the outcome of it for the group to have enough time for a possible appeal against the findings.

Mugenga furthermore suggested the nullification of the disputed regional election outcomes if time left before the party's sixth congress does not allow for the hearing.

The Namibian has established that the group argues that the regional election was unconstitutional as no executive committee meetings were held in all eight districts of the region to choose an election committee for sections as well as branch conferences, neither did the politburo elect an elective committee to oversee the regional election.

Also, they claimed, delegates from the Aranos district had attended the regional elective conference although the district had failed to hold extraordinary conferences, and that some eligible delegates were barred from attending the regional elective conference.

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